Hey Stanford fans,
It’s Madi and Brittany writing all the way from Sanming, China. No, we don’t know where that is on a map either. Our journey here is quite the tale. It began last Friday when we left Stanford and flew to Los Angeles to meet up with the rest of the Pac-12 team to live/train at USC.
Somehow, we managed to be roommates in LA and were very excited about that, granted the last time we were roommates with Stanford, we slept through breakfast and almost missed the bus to practice. Yikes! Training was fun, we both had a blast competing with the best from the Pac-12 in our favorite sport, indoor volleyball. It was weird becoming teammates with some of our greatest rivals, but all the girls are very nice, funny, and we get along as a group really well. Since many teams have added sand volleyball, it was many players first times playing 6-on-6 games for quite some time. We bonded quickly over our aches, pains, and soreness. Sunday was Brittany’s 20th birthday so we treated ourselves to some Krispy Kreme donuts, and at midnight, we boarded the plane to Hong Kong. Turn up for 14 hour red eyes!
This international trek was a first for both of us. We were nervous and had each prepared accordingly with entertainment and sleeping aids. Thanks to melatonin, we both slept soundly for 10 hours. Score! Brittany passed the rest of the time with her new favorite TV show, Gossip Girl, while Madi watched The Heat and read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Additionally, there was this neat feature on the plane’s TV screens that showed the view of a camera attached to the bottom of the plane. For a majority of the flight it was darkness, but as we emerged from the clouds around 5 a.m. local time, beautiful Hong Kong illuminated the plane with green mountain sides, pretty water, and boats hard at work. At last, we landed.
We were so excited to try new food, but then saw McDonald’s and Starbucks. Game over. Hong Kong was just a layover destination, so we never actually got to go outside, but it was OK because there was free Wi-fi. All the girls lounged around our gate with various snacks with their phones glued to their hands. Not too long after we had landed it was time to get back on a plane. This one was headed for Shanghai. This flight was only 2.5 hours. Madi watched Little Mermaid and Brittany read Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson.
After landing, getting through immigration and customs, finding our bags, and finding each other again, we headed to our tour of Shanghai. Our tour guide was quite the comedian and kept cracking corny jokes that took us a little while to catch on to. First we ate lunch. Each table had a lazy-susan in the middle and the dishes were placed on that and rotated around to each person. We were served a feast: all kinds of meats and sauces and vegetables, most of which we had never seen before. We were good sports and tried everything, but our favorites were the egg pancake, an unidentified fried seafood and, of course, the rice. For some reason, the fish head didn’t really sit well with us.
Then, our group got on a boat that went around the river that runs through Shanghai. We saw what will be the tallest building in the world when it is completed, the iconic pink sphere building, and much more. It was a very foggy day, so all of our pictures look super ominous, which will make for some great Instagrams, #nofilter.
Next, our shopping skills were put to the test in the local market. It was insanely crowded and full of aggressive people. Madi emerged with a set of miniature jade Buddah’s, while Britt chose to save her money despite having the best bargaining story of the day. We then headed to dinner, which we were all excited about trying more new food. However, dinner turned out to be the exact same menu as lunch! People were a little less adventurous this time around and the delirium definitely started to set in.
Our group then went back to the Shanghai airport to fly to Fuzhou. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed for two hours. During these two hours, every single person in the group sprawled out across the floor and the chairs and took a nap. We both woke up very disoriented about where we were and proceeded to pass out again as soon as we sat down on the plane. Apparently, our 1.5 hour flight turned into a 3.5 hour journey because of air traffic due to a typhoon hitting very close to where we were landing! However, neither of us noticed since we were dead asleep the whole time. As soon as we landed, we gathered our things and plopped ourselves onto another bus.
This bus ride took us from Fuzhou to our final destination of Sanming. It was scheduled to last three hours. Four hours after sitting down, we arrived at our hotel, delays from the typhoon yet again. Our estimated arrival time was 1 a.m., but we pulled in at 7 a.m. Wwhat is traveling if not an adventure? We quickly scarffed down some hard boiled eggs and “the cake” with jam, showered (HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK), and are now going to take a nap to rest up for our game tonight!
It has been a long 39-hour trip. We have no idea what day it is here or in the U.S., nor what time, nor where we are really, but we have each other and we have volleyball. We’re excited to be here (finally) and we can’t wait to get going! Talk to you the next time we find Wi-Fi!
Things we learned...
-ankles and calves swell when you travel for a long time, kankle-city over here!
-neck pillows are the real deal
-China is a humid place
-Madi can’t barter
-time is relative
-you CAN sleep anywhere
Britt and Bugg